It was the end of the season for literary prices in France yesterday, Tuesday November, 17th. The Prix Goncourt des Lycéens is organized by the Education Nationale and the famous bookshops brand, Fnac. It has just been delivered to Gaël Faye, for Petit Pays. This is not really a surprise, because the novel has encountered a real success since its publication.
Petit Pays is about childhood in Burundi and especially about civil war and genocides in the country. The author has been directly inspired by his own life. Indeed, Gaël Faye was born in Burundi from a French father and a mother raised in Rwanda. He lived there until he was thirteen years old.
The novel is not only a sad and realistic evidence of what is happening in Africa, it is also a joyful novel made of childhood dreams. The author stages five little friends playing and denying Burundi’s events.
Even if his book was on numerous lists of several prices such as Femina, Medicis or Renaudot, Gaël Faye declared yesterday that Prix Goncourt des Lycéens was the only one he was dreaming of because it was not a “political price”. Moreover, he declared feeling moved, favored and proud to have been chosen by teenagers, since he himself began to write at this time of his life.
Anne Lods, IEJ3E